The project is intended to demonstrate how a non-fossil fuel-based energy system can work, from the generation of hydrogen to its transmission, storage, distribution and, ultimately, conversion into electricity of fuel for transportation.

Over the next three years, DTE Energy will develop, build and operate an integrated hydrogen energy system capable of delivering 15MWh per year. Anthony Earley, chairman and CEO of DTE Energy, said that the project will provide critical insights into the technical challenges and economic viability of hydrogen as a fuel. While many individual components of a hydrogen system are being studied, this is the first time that the economics of an entire power park will be evaluated.

The system will run on hydrogen generated from renewable resources. During off-peak operating hours, electricity from landfill gas or conventional central-station power will be used in an electrolytic cracking process to produce hydrogen from water. The hydrogen will be compressed and stored for later use.

During peak operating hours, the stored hydrogen will be used to operate a 50 kW fuel cell and a 25 kW Stirling engine. It is expected that 600 kW will be installed next year, with additional generating capacity added in the following 3-4 years.